Book 4, Chapters 5 - 8 Notes from Return of the Native

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Return of the Native Book 4, Chapters 5 - 8

On August 31st, a very hot, excruciatingly sunny day, Mrs. Yeobright heads for Clym and Eustacia's cottage, intending to make up with her son. Her unfamiliarity with the area results in her getting lost and having to ask for directions. She finally asks a furze-cutter, who tells her to follow the path of another furze-cutter heading the same way she is. Recognizing the gait of the man she is following, she realizes it is her son. Mrs. Yeobright is shocked and pained to see that Clym is actually a furze-cutter. She decides to sit down near Clym's house to rest. By this time, Mrs. Yeobright is thoroughly exhausted and weary, after having walked over five miles under the hot sun. She sees a second man approach the house and enter--it is Wildeve.

Eustacia opens the door for Wildeve. Clym is sleeping, as he is accustomed to do after work, so he does not know that they have a visitor nor does he hear their conversation. Eustacia is struck by the difference in appearance between Clym and Wildeve--Wildeve looks elegant in his suit and Clym looks like a low-class heath-man, dressed in his furze-cutting uniform. Wildeve tells her that Clym has a far greater fortune than he does--the fortune that is Eustacia. He also tells her he has surprising news, but he does not let on what this news is. Declaring his love for her, Wildeve guesses that Eustacia only married Clym so that he might take her out of the heath. She denies his charge, claiming that she loves Clym for who he is. When Mrs. Yeobright knocks on the door, Eustacia, having seen her mother-in-law through the window, is fearful of their meeting. Instead of letting Mrs. Yeobright in, she leads Wildeve to the back door, assuming that an awakened Clym will open the door for his mother. Eustacia tells Wildeve that they should no longer be romantically involved and bids him farewell. When she goes inside, she expects to hear the voices of Clym and his mother, but she finds that Clym is still asleep--and Mrs. Yeobright gone.

Topic Tracking: Fate 6

Mrs. Yeobright is heading home in the hot sun, feeling utterly devastated and betrayed by her own son. She believes Clym to have refused her, as she knows that Clym was inside the house and assumes that he allowed Eustacia to shut her out. Johnny Nunsuch joins Mrs. Yeobright, who wonders why she looks so exhausted and sad. Johnny waits with her for a while, bringing her water and waiting until he becomes impatient and leaves. Mrs. Yeobright asks him to tell his mother that he had seen a "broken-hearted woman cast off by her son" Book 4, Chapter 6, pg. 220. Mrs. Yeobright begins her walk alone, walking slowly until she is in too much pain from the heat and the length of her journey to walk and has to sit down on a soft spot to rest.

Clym wakes up, having dreamt that that he had taken Eustacia to his mother's house but they could not get in, despite his mother's crying for help. As a result of the dream, he resolves that he must see his mother as soon as possible.

Topic Tracking: Fate 7

Eustacia suggests that she go herself, intending to talk to Mrs. Yeobright about that afternoon, but Clym turns her suggestion down. Later that evening, Clym walks in the direction of Blooms-End and hears someone moaning in pain. He is anguished to see that it is his mother who is moaning. Clym sees that his mother is so ill and weak that she cannot walk or talk. Carrying his mother in his arms, Clym intends to head to his mother's place but she becomes so restless that he takes her into a small shed for refuge. He then runs to Timothy Fairway's for help and many villagers run back with him. The villagers discover that Mrs. Yeobright has an adder bite. While they wait for the doctor to arrive, they prepare a remedy using the oil of a freshly-killed adder. Clym applies the remedy to his mother's wound.

Topic Tracking: Heath Customs 12

Meanwhile, back at Clym and Eustacia's home, Eustacia prepares to walk in the direction of Blooms-End to meet Clym on his return from his mother's. Before she can leave, her grandfather arrives to tell her important news--that Wildeve has suddenly inherited a fortune of eleven thousand pounds in bank-notes from a dead uncle. Eustacia guesses that Wildeve's inheritance is the surprising news he wanted to tell her earlier. Captain Vye tells her that she should have married Wildeve and asks if she needs any money. Eustacia proudly refuses, telling her grandfather that Clym has money and that he is only furze-cutting as a pastime. Thinking about Wildeve's inheritance, Eustacia is so immersed that she forgets to wonder where Clym is. When Wildeve appears suddenly, Eustacia congratulates him on his fortune. Wildeve tells her that he meant to sound indifferent about his inheritance, because Clym has Eustacia instead of money. Wildeve tells Eustacia of his plans to travel around the world before finally settling in Paris.

They walk further down the heath until they see that a hut is occupied. Seeing that Clym and his mother are inside, Eustacia asks Wildeve to spy on them. At that moment, Mrs. Yeobright is near death. The doctor tells Clym and the villagers that it was the long walk in the heat that has exhausted Mrs. Yeobright's weak heart, although the adder bite does contribute to her suffering.

Topic Tracking: Man Against Nature 9

Mrs. Yeobright dies, with Clym and Thomasin weeping. When Eustacia hears Johnny Nunsuch cry out, "She said I was to say that I had seed her, and she was a broken-hearted woman and cast off by her son" Book 4, Chapter 8, pg. 232, she also hears Clym gasp in surprise and sob. Eustacia does not dare to enter the hut; she feels terribly guilty and remorseful. She feels that she is to blame for Mrs. Yeobright's death, for she had not admitted her mother-in-law into the house.

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